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"And it is really Sir Everard who "Then that means no supplies for a holds that,” Millard amended.
while, sir; Khartum has no surplus to “I see.” Sears nodded, and again send us.” came that gray glint from between “It means more than that, Mr. narrowed lids. “I 'll play that up in Millard.” The general rose, striding the films; that 's the dramatic point.” restlessly to the window, speaking half
“And Fehmy Pasha, down in Cairo, to that glimpse of wan vastness beyond with his agitation for Egyptian in the walls. “These things are known dependence, is another — dramatic ,
dramatic out there. How, we can't find out; point,” Millard said drily. Then he but they are known, and it means that followed it by an apology just a shade for our enemies the next week or so too hasty and obvious. "Excuse me, will be their time, while we are cut Vansittart; I did n't mean Ι
off.” Hamid rose, waving the apology “But these Southern emirs are aside with a flashing smile.
loyal, sir,” Millard objected. “At “My dear chap, don't mention it. least, so Vansittart reports." Of course everybody knows that the “Ah, yes, Hamid.” Sir Everard's old boy is my cousin-on my mother's severity softened at the name. He side. But it is the father, fortunately, murmured on, mostly to himself: : who determines one's nationality. Be “I 'm glad I got him away from that
“m sides, there's Sir Everard, you know." mess down in Cairo—young, am
There was always Sir Everard; bitious, his mother's people. And Millard found himself pondering that there 's no knowing what Fehmy when later he was summoned to the might have offered him." general's quarters, and noted anew the So those rumors about Hamid had ascetic barrenness of the room, the been true, Millard saw. He understood ascetic barrenness of the man himself, why Sir Everard had interfered on the like some bronze statue. The narrow fellow's behalf, bringing him South in cot and ebony crucifix contributed an unofficial, personal sort of way. much to his reputation. He looked If this bronze general had a human like a Covenanter, sternly chaste in a spot in him, it was for this son of creed that permitted him to send wave that Vansittart who had explored the after wave of living men to be torn by Mayembe country with him back in high explosives.
the eighties. Tom Vansittart had
remained in Egypt after that; had $3
rather "gone country," in fact, marry“Close the door, Mr. Millard," the ing a pasha's widow and becoming general began as the other approached. something of a pasha himself
. He was “Wireless despatches have just ar- gone now, and only Hamid, "old rived. They are at it again down in Tom's boy," remained to link Sir Egypt. Fehmy Pasha has escaped to Everard with that friend of his youth. the Bayouda, there is a general strike The general turned, recovering his on all the railroads, and part of the usual military staccato. Nile line has been destroyed."
“The despatches confirm the sendQuickly Millard visualized that sit- ing of this American photographer; uation, hitting upon its salient point. but, all the same, see that he has no
communication with the men. These can you do that when I am not in Yankees are apt to have strange ideas.” the story?" He frowned. “And how
There was nothing to trace the con- can I be in the story when I'm making nection, but Millard instantly con- the films?” cluded that Hamid Vansittart had “I think you will find that this is just been with the general, for he was something more than a mere movingperpetually mounting the tower steps picture drama,” Millard objected. in his noiseless grace.
As no one else “One never knows how a thing is in Koom Katia, he had Sir Everard's going to turn out until one sees it on ear, and seemingly the ear of the Sudan the screen," Sears replied. as well; that was what made him valu- The fellow's point of view seemed able. Millard wondered at his own unshakable. It lay upon Millard's decision to warn Sears that any more
mind as he sought his own quarters, questions had better be asked of him- sitting long in the silence, which was self.
broken only by the challenges of the It was that, together with a vague sentries as the officer of the night went idea of "keeping an eye on the fellow," his rounds. which caused Millard to stop at the particular sweat-box assigned to Sears's
84 use, an oven-like place opposite the For days the Koom Katia occupagaping blackness of the arched gate. A tion dragged on, a round of military single lamp made a half-dimness, and monotony amid sun, sand, and sweat. in a corner the motion-picture camera, Isolated in his half limbo as the sole set up on its tripod and adorned with civilian, Sears went about such work weird trappings of mechanism, loomed as he could find. like some heathenish image.
As Hamid Vansittart had said, it Perched cross-legged on the cot, was difficult to put the place into Sears regarded his visitor with a touch pictures. It persisted in remaining of impudent understanding.
just a background, a splendid stage “Come to look me over?” he without adequate drama. Now and drawled. It was so nearly the truth then some emir came drifting in from that Millard found himself obliged the edges of the papyrus marshes to smile.
about the Nile, or from where the plain "Partly, perhaps; but I wanted to dipped down toward the untouched give you some advice."
stretches round Lake Rudolph. HawkThere was a minute of scrutiny, a faced old chieftains, their fingers on silent, open measuring of man for man; the very pulse of African politics, they then Sears nodded in a certain satis- would stalk up to pay their respects to faction.
"Boultbee of Batanza," filling the fore“All right; I 'll take it. Shoot." court with the color and unwashed
"Be careful what you say, that 's stench of their retinues. With the all. These are ticklish times, and camera hidden in his doorway as a people are suspicious, and I don't want concession to Moslem prejudices, Sears to have to put you under arrest. would grind steadily away at the
“Arrest me?" Sears seemed to have crank, commanding the sweep of difficulty in understanding that. "How courtyard between yellow walls and
the angle of the tower stairway down to catch the fellow so unawares, his which the general would come.
face unfixed for that inexorably reIt was one morning when golden cording lens. It was probably merely light and level shadow brought a false some trick of shadow, or a reflex from effect of coolness that Millard found the preoccupation plainly written on Sears photographing the empty arch- Hamid's ivory face, but, lacking his way. He often did that, catching it usual smile and vividness of expression, as a semicircle of dead blackness in the there was something almost sinister. glaring, sun-lit wall.
Never had his Egyptian blood showed “That arch seems to fascinate you, so plainly as in that off-guard moment. Millard said casually as he paused at Then he turned and walked rapidly the other's door.
back again, lost in the dark arch. “This place is so darn shut in,” Leisurely capping the lens, Sears Sears answered, with a glance at the grunted in satisfaction. walls about them. "I've got a "I've been laying for that guy; he's hunch these pictures may need a hole the only one who does n't want his in them. That 's what I said—a map to go on the screen.'
hole,” he went on at Millard's look of "It is important that he should not inquiry. “That black arch won't be known-his secret-service disguises register at all. It will stay as it was, and all that,” Millard explained. a sensitive spot with nothing on it." "Well, that 's the way to get them,” "Then what?" asked Millard.
Sears replied, nodding, "when they A shade of impatience crept into don't know they are being taken." Sears's voice that the other could not “How often have you got me that see what was plain to himself.
way?” askod Millard, laughing, and the "When you go to the movies, do you other turned a cool glance toward him.
a ever see anybody walk on or off the "I got' you the first time I saw you." screen through a wall? They go and A queer sort of duck, Millard de come through doors, don't they?" he cided as he walked on; but the things demanded, with a look of dislike for he said had a way of sticking like the whole place. "All these damn' slivers in one's memory. Those peowalls; but if you 've got a hole, you ple coming on and off the screen, for never know what may come in by it- instance_Millard had never considthere's somebody coming now.”
ered that before. There was someThrough the arch rang an echo of thing a bit ghastly in it when one footsteps, rapid, light, and careless; came to think it over, people walking then came a paler glimmer against the out through those pictured doors to shadow, and then Hamid Vansittart nothing at all. appeared.
He passed out through the arch to He stopped as he came into the sun- struggle with the daily problem of the light, staring casually across to where inadequate transport from the railthey stood in the concealment of Sears's head. Hamid was there, lounging in doorway. Obviously, he had not seen the shade, and Millard hailed him. them, and the faint grind of the camera- "Hello, Vansittart. Back again?"
, crank struck on Millard's ears as al- “For an hour or two.
I am off to most a treachery. It seemed unfair the wells of El Kebar this afternoon.” Hamid came closer, sinking his voice
$ 5 to' a more cautious note. “There is some deviltry hatching over there." So they thought he was too intimate
It was probably of that that Hamid with this camera chap, Millard rehad been thinking as he came under flected as he watched the other dethe arch, Millard decided; but for some part. Perhaps he had better draw off a reason, which seemed principally no bit; this isolated world of Koom Katia reason at all, he forbore to tell the was virulent of gossip, its worst sin to other of Sears's photographing him. be suspected of an idea that went Then Vansittart grinned in frank con- an inch beyond the accepted formulæ. fession.
Despite Vansittart's warning, Sears “To tell the truth, I 'm hurrying off was ordered to make the films of Sheik a bit; you 're going to have a regular Djemal's visit next day. The sheik visitation to-morrow. Sheik Djemal was too important, his submission too from Haifa, most frightful swell in his much of a diplomatic feather in Sir way, travels with all the trimmings, Everard's cap, to be permitted to pass including his favorite dancing girl.” unrecorded. He came riding in at the
"I have heard of him," said Millard. head of his multi-colored mob with banHe had almost said that he had heard ner, shouts, and drums, and behind a of him as some connection of that screen of palm-branches Sears cranked pestilent Fehmy Pasha, but he caught steadily away. It was there that Milhimself in time. There was no need lard joined him, snatching a moment's to make Vansittart's position any respite from the wearisome round of harder; he was enough between the coffee, compliments, and cigarettes. millstones of East and West as it was. “Who is the doll on the donkey?"
"By the way,” the other went on Sears asked. in a note of warning, "don't let that She was coming in just then, her American protégé of yours get up to
musicians in attendance, a girl probany tricks with his camera while old ably from the hill country up toward Djemal is about. He'd consider it Abyssinia, slimly supple, warm brown a sacrilege to be photographed, and in color, her feet and hands reddened raise the very deuce."
with henna, her eyes and lips heavy “That is for the general to say,” with paint, under a cloud of hair. Millard answered. “And I hardly see There was something biblical about her why you call him my protégé.” as she passed by on her gray mount;
“You seem a bit thick with him.” and looking at her, one caught a Hamid laughed. “Pray for me over glimpse of those strange women of at El Kebar; I go as a blind beggar, the eye-for-an-eye days-Judith, Ahowith nothing between me and nature libah, pulsing in the warm darkness but a suit of brown dye."
beneath the palms. A quirk of the muscles, and Hamid's "Some sort of Sudanese Salome," lithe body sank in on itself in a gro- Millard answered. “She will dance tesque distortion as he sketched a limp- later to entertain Sir Everard." ing step or two; then he straightened "Then fix it so she 'll dance against up and passed on, smiling and debonair, that wall, close to the arch.” already alight with his new adventure. "Still sticking to your hole," said